fresh voices from the front lines of change







Fix the Debt, a front group for corporations, billionaires, and defense contractors, wants people to call their Representatives and demand that they avoid the "fiscal cliff."

The group's latest email is so badly written that it cries out for laughter, but its potential consequences call out for tears.

The writing borders on the unintelligible, as when it urges people to contact their Member of Congress and say this:

"I'm calling to urge the Represntative (sic) to pass an agreement to tackle our nation's debt crisis that is supported by members of both parties that both raises revenue and cuts government spending in order to pave the way for a strong economic future."

Now try saying it three times fast.

It's easy to make fun of something this inept, and the overpaid cynics at Fix the Debt - and fellow shell organizations like the Committee For a Responsible Federal Budget - certainly have it coming. But this time they've crossed a line. They're claiming to speak in the very interests of the people who would be most hurt by their actions.

Shame on them.

The email provides a script to be used when calling your Representative. They suggest you begin by saying that the deficit "matters to me because ______________".

It then offers three "helpful" examples of how that sentence might be completed: by a concerned parent, a small business owner, and a veteran - three of the many populations whose financial security would be gravely wounded by Fix the Debt's political agenda.

That doesn't mean everybody would be hurt by it, of course. Here are some scripts that the group's real beneficiaries might want to use:

-- I'm rich as hell - I mean, I'm not naming figures, but we're talking stinkin' rich - and I want to cut Social Security and Medicare while lowering my own corporate and personal taxes. 

-- I'm a corporate CEO who's been shipping jobs overseas, and we've had record profits while paying record-low amounts to the IRS. But that's not enough. I want to do even less for my country. 

-- I'm a defense contractor and, while I thank you for the break you've already given me this week, I really need to make sure I don't sacrifice even a tiny bit in the name of deficit reduction. 

-- I invest in the for-profit health industry and business is booming. I want you to do everything you can to undermine Medicare and Medicaid so I can pump up my profits even more. 

-- I'm a Wall Street executive and I'm expecting to get more 401(k) investment funds once you gut Social Security. I also receive a deeply perverse satisfaction from not helping to fix the economy I destroyed, and I'm counting on you not to harsh my mellow.

Now here are Fix the Debt's own sample phone scripts. We've added some additional dialog, and given each one a name:

Competitive Spirit

Fix the Debt phone-in script: I am a small business owner and my success and the jobs of my employees depend on a strong economy.  (Note: The awkward language is theirs.)

Additional dialog: So please pass a bill that favors billionaires and giant corporations, while gutting the Small Business Administration and other programs that help folks like me.

I especially like that "chained CPI," which forces middle-class people into higher tax brackets and deprives them of even more money they might otherwise have spent on consumer goods.  That will lower demand, making it even more unlikely that my competitors and I will be able to grow, prosper, and hire more workers.

I really hate my competitors.

A Better Life

Fix the Debt phone-in script: I am a parent and don't want to kick the can down the road for my kids' generation to deal with crippling national debt or a double dip recession.(Note: The awkward language is theirs.)

Additional dialog: So please implement the "chained CPI," which will gut their future Social Security benefits while raising their taxes throughout their working lives. I also want a plan that arbitrarily reduces Medicare benefits over time so there's nothing left by the time they get old.

My college-aged kids are graduating to record-level unemployment, too, but please don't spend any money to help with that.

Please cut education funding, too, from elementary school all the way up to Pell grants. Education's the key to advancement, and right now my kids dream of a better life than the one we had.

I really resent that.

Some Gave All

Fix the Debt phone-in script: am a veteran, and I know that our nation's fiscal strength is a matter of national security.

Additional dialog: So please help defense contractors like the ones who did all that defective wiring and killed my friends over in Iraq.

Please be sure to implement the "chained CPI" while you're at it, too, since more than nine million of my fellow vets are on Social Security.  Way I see it, they haven't sacrificed enough for their country.

Four thousand children who lost a parent in Iraq get Social Security benefits too. I know I told my buddy over there I'd look after his kids if something happened, but what the hell: maybe you folks and all your friends in Washington are right.

Maybe those kids haven't sacrificed enough either.


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